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Spend it all every time
10 things worth sharing this week
I was watching an episode of Grand Designs and host Kevin McCloud said of one of the home builders, “It’s hard to tell if Danny’s been saving money… or just not spending it.” That sentence broke my brain in a good way.
Here’s this week’s list of 10:
Larry David is said to put every single good idea he likes into each season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. “So at the end of the season, there’s this hole — there aren’t any ideas that he really likes — so how could he possibly do another season? He’s the only person on the planet who doesn’t think he’s going to come up with more good ideas.”
Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life: “One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water.”
Writer James Salter copied this Andre Gide quote down as a notebook affirmation: “Write as if this were your only book, your last book. Into it put everything you were saving—everything precious, every scrap of capital, every penny as it were. Don’t be afraid of being left with nothing.”
“A writer’s task is to steal from life,” says John Le Carré in Errol Morris’s The Pigeon Tunnel. “Mercifully, I found a home for my larceny.”
“Everything is copy.” We borrowed Nora Ephron’s You’ve Got Mail on disc from the library. In a special feature interview the director said she was inspired by Ray Oldenburg’s The Great Good Place, a book about how cafés, coffee shops, bookstores, bars, hair salons and other such hangouts function as a “third place” away from home and work where people can find creativity and community.
“I always think best around a kitchen table.” My 11-year-old wanted to watch Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, but I refused to pay the $20 they’re charging to rent it, so instead I walked 5 miles round-trip to a Walgreen’s Redbox to rent the Blu-Ray. (LOL.) The story was a bit of a mess, but I loved Ryan Gosling and the set design and wound up watching all the special features before returning it. $2.25 well spent!
I finally shelled out for a subscription to The Idler, which came with a free copy of Tom Hodgkinson’s An Idler’s Manual, which contains “24 ways to do nothing.” (I love Tom’s stuff — we had his “Manifesto of The Idle Parent” on the fridge for years.)
Ear candy: I bought Destroyer’s Kaputt on 2xLP after finding out that the second disc has a whole 20-minute suite of music that isn’t on streaming platforms. It’s a rare treat to discover an album actually plays better over four sides of vinyl. (I still refuse to buy those ripoff 2xLP 45rpm reissues, however.) Kaputt also put me in the mood to listen to Roxy Music’s Avalon about a dozen times. (And I found out designer Peter Saville borrowed the cover art for the “More Than This” single from Rosetti’s “Veronica Veronese.”)
After I shared the pair of Lawrence Weschler’s books about Robert Irwin and David Hockney, Alan suggested that Weschler’s book on Oliver Sacks would make it a nice trio. (Among other things, Sacks, too, was interested in perception, the connection between art and science, and living in California.) And Sara sang the praises of the 1997 documentary, Robert Irwin: The Beauty of Questions, but that looks long out-of-print, so I’ll have to keep searching. In the meantime, there’s a brand-new documentary on Irwin, A Desert of Pure Feeling, and the nice short film, A Few Things About Robert Irwin.
“The feeling of the wind blowing is the feeling of molecules pushing against you.” The prolific science writer Philip Ball posted a free PDF of a book about science that he wrote while home-educating his kids. (If any YA editors are reading this, I think it would make a really good graphic novel!) Ball has a new book out called How Life Works — he wrote a touching essay about discovering he had cancer just as he was finishing the book: “Life is not about reading out a blueprint, it’s about creating flexible rules and resources from which diverse forms might emerge.”
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